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New Law Regarding Foreign Citizens in the Making

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New Law Regarding Foreign Citizens in the Making

Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament

Photo: Páll Kjartansson.

A draft bill for a new law regarding foreign citizens has been introduced, Vísir reports.

“The basic idea behind the draft bill is to support humanity and ensure that Iceland live up to international agreements regarding these issues,” MP for Bright Future Óttarr Proppé explains. “We’re also trying to ensure efficiency in the system, both regarding administration and those who work in this area, in order to improve service.

The draft bill includes a complete review of laws regarding foreign citizens. It aims to coordinate laws regarding them and laws regarding their employment rights. Residence permits will be reclassified and requirements to obtain a residence permit will be simplified.

An emphasis will be placed on taking into account the needs of the job market, as well as those of the university and science communities. Moreover, communication between foreign citizens and Icelandic authorities will now all be handled by one agency—the Directorate of Immigration.

All disputes will be handled by the Appeals Board for Foreign Citizens’ Affairs.

Óttarr tells Vísir that while preparing the draft bill, a number of experts were consulted. The goal, he states, is to improve Icelandic legislation regarding foreign citizens and ensure that it be a leading force when it comes to human rights issues.

The attempt is to bring the law up-to-date with modern-day reality. Times are changing, he continues, “The refugee problem in our part of the world is on the rise, and it’s becoming more common for people to travel between countries due to work or studies.”

A cross-political delegation of members of parliament has worked to create the bill. Óttarr leads the delegation, but in addition to him, the delegation includes MPs Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Líneik Anna Sævarsdóttir, Svandís Svavarsdóttir, Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir and Össur Skarphéðinsson.

The final bill will be introduced in parliament this fall.

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